26 February 2016 MEDIA STATEMENT
Upper Hutt City Council’s controversial move to establish a “TPPA Free Zone” policy reflects the concern many local authorities have over the deal and the Government must now provide assurances to our representatives, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.
“I am hearing the real concern out there about the implications of the TPPA at local government level.
“While not going to the lengths of Upper Hutt City Council,12 other local authorities have adopted a TPPA resolution calling on the Government to safeguard their decision-making abilities.
“This shows the tensions placed on local authorities by the TPPA.
“A recent peer-reviewed expert paper supported by the NZ Law Foundation confirms the potential for TPPA countries to legally challenge local government decisions that damage their commercial interests.
“It’s important that the Government provides assurances to our elected local bodies that their ability to meet community expectations around responsible local governance will be protected.
“If a local authority finds itself forced into mounting a legal defence, will the Government make provisions to support this?
“This is a discussion we need to be having now and it’s up to Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga to provide assurances,” says Meka Whaitiri.